4 Tips For Playing The Instagram Algorithm
Social media algorithms have come a long way. Once basic and rudimentary, today they are complex strings that provide users with the best online experience possible.
Instagram’s algorithm, in particular, has undergone several updates in recent years. As such, brands and individuals need to work harder than ever to get their content seen.
But while it’s tricky, it’s not impossible. Read on for four tips for playing the Instagram algorithm.
Encourage genuine engagement with your posts
Instagram is a social platform, with an emphasis on “social”. It’s about human connections, and Instagram knows that. As a result, the Instagram algorithm favors those accounts whose posts regularly receive significant engagement in the form of comments.
You can achieve higher engagement on your posts in a variety of ways. Start by including a question in your caption (or image, where appropriate). Make it unique and compelling, something that really taps into your followers’ interests and passions.
Check out this post from camping brand Tentsile as an example:
Once answers start pouring in, respond to them and have conversations in the comments thread. Be human and personable, and offer real conversations with your followers rather than robotic, automated responses.
Create and share high-quality video
Video is a popular content format across all channels, and Instagram’s native video hosting only serves to foster that.
It should be noted here that the Instagram algorithm only places greater importance on video if your target audience does as well. In short, if your audience likes video, they will see more video in their feed.
Skate-wear brand, Vans, is especially good at using video for engaging their audience by tapping into their extreme sports interests:
However, if your video has enough of a hook, the chances are that your followers will pause in their feed to view it. Consequently, the algorithm actively seeks out more videos for these followers to watch.
Get your hashtag strategy on-point
Hashtags are an integral part of the Instagram experience. Used wisely, they help connect people with the photos, videos, images, accounts, and topics that they want to see.
In essence, hashtags exist to help new people find your content, content which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see without following you. Your hashtags should be relevant to your post, making clear that your content is about.
But hashtags also play a crucial role in the Instagram algorithm too, albeit indirectly.
While the Instagram algorithm doesn’t take hashtags into account per se, using community-led hashtags helps the right kind of users connect with your content, thus encouraging engagement into the bargain.
This post from co-working space WeWork is a fine example of a community hashtag that engages people by tapping into their interests — in this case, dogs:
Plus, when combined with the other points on this list, it helps you appear top of the Explore feed for those specific hashtags.
Be frequent and consistent with your posting
Fortune favors the brave, but Instagram favors the productive. The more content you create and post, the higher priority it will be awarded.
Don’t overdo it, however. Overloading your followers with multiple posts in a single day will feel spammy, and your audience will tire of it eventually. That said, the algorithm automatically disperses multiple posts from a brand to provide users with a diverse feed, so any increase might not be as noticeable.
But remember, quantity does not supersede quality. Your posts still need to be high-quality and engaging. It’s a tough thing to achieve but one worth striving for nonetheless.
Instagram is a great social platform with lots to offer, but rising to the top isn’t easy. Follow the tips above and get your content seen by the right people in 2020.